Is there a game this season where the offense hasn't been basically unstoppable for the first few quarters? The pattern of quick start, slow burn is becoming almost comical. Ok, it is comical. This weeks film gives a glimpse into some of our offensive struggles. Lack of depth causes key back-ups to fail facing first string talent. Lack of consistent execution by the team when it comes to simple, blocking, route running, and catching continue to plague the offense. Also, for some reason when Chip finds something that works, he immediately ignores it going forward. Outside of feeding Hyde this week, most of the offensive play-calling that lead to success in the opening, gave way to unimaginative lackluster calls. The Jets also made some key adjustments, and of course, we did not. Go figure!
Let’s get into some first half successes:
After a quick INT by the Jets, the first play shows some of the calling that allows for us to be dynamic, on this out pass to Hyde, the motion causes confusion on the defensive side of the ball, the defender hesitates just enough for Hyde to be in position to break the tackle. Kap could’ve hit Hyde or the TE along the backline for six on this one.
We talked about execution earlier in the intro. On this following play the 49ers O-Line demonstrates text book zone blocking technique. Rookie Garnett steps correctly secures his gap at the line, then gets to second level and secures block on the linebacker. The QB run fake causes the oncoming blitzer to hesitate as Hyde skates by. Fearing the truck stick, the safety sits flat footed as Hyde jukes by him for 47 yards.
One common theme in the plays above is either pre-snap motion, which causes the defense the shift to give up coverage technique, or the play-action fakes keep defenders hesitant long enough to allow for receivers to get open behind them. This next play is another example of both. Formation opens with 3TEs at the bottom of the screen, the motion gives away the 3 deep zone set, as the play starts the play action keeps the linebackers close to the LOS, and Bell sneaks behind them for 30 yards. I believe this is what you call a “touch” pass by the so-call “touchless” wonder.
In another positive example, Chip has Draughn line up in the slot to the bottom of the field. This leaves the middle wide open before the play even starts. Kerley, who is in the slot at the top, is probably the only WR we have with enough quicks to get open from man coverage. He easily jukes the defender and runs after the catch for a big gain to end the 1st quarter.
These plays highlighted some of the innovation and formation “wins” that we would expect from an offensive minded coach like Kelly. Into the next three quarters, a few things happened. The loss of Vance McDonald as a blocker becomes evident. The loss of Kilgore at center exposes the continued weakness that is Marcus Martin. The Jets began to blitz more; They also went to more man to man, and left the zone alone. This made Kap get happy feet and that whole stare down thing happened again. Chip also stopped all the cool formations, and pre-snap movement which caused confusion and matchup issues in the prior quarter. Let’s take a look.
Immediately at the start of the 2nd quarter, Jets adjust and go to a man concept. While the play call isn't all that bad, maybe some motion would’ve helped, but Kap stares left, and then stares left some more, and then stares left more, when to his right Smith was open on a deep in. The All 22 shows the route combo, the end zone angles shows Kaps head stay left the entire play.
We talked about offensive execution earlier. After another long Hyde run we shoot ourselves in the foot. Some one explain to me this deep into a season, after a full week of practice, why do we have players running into each other like it’s Friday Night Tykes?! The collision causes the defender to blitz and forces Kap into a quick throw. Celek was uncovering but Kap pulled a Gabbert and went with a check down. Guess it’s better than a sack.
2nd quarter woes continue here. Once again, no motion, no play-action, a critical 3rd and 7 play. The Jets blitz trying to hurry the throw, it’s initially picked up, but Kap panics, starts to lean, and then eventually bails when there’s no one even near him. From the All 22 angle you can see the TE wide open in the middle of the field.
Celek gets his revenge on Kap missing him earlier by totally whiffing on his blocking assignment. Kap never has a chance to set up. Game, Set, Sack. I think we talked about execution, how many times now?
Let’s continue to poke and pour salt into this wound of a game. Onto the 3rd!
The TE group must be tight, first Celek, now Bell pulls his best VMac Stone Hands rendition and drops a wide open slant. This is the equivalent of pouring out a little liquor for your fallen comrades. Way to start the quarter!
At this point, Kap doesn’t know who to trust. He’s got Marcus Martin blocking for him, an ex-QB playing tight end, and some guy from New Hampshire calling boring plays and it shows. Another 3rd and 5 (manageable 3rd down they call it) and the Jets bring another blitz from the right. Kap, knowing his routes across the middle break to the left, decided to scramble into the face of the blitz (I’m so confused). This causes Brown (RT) to lose his leverage and Kap aims for another sideline intern. I believe he’s completing about 60 percent to interns on the sideline now.
To close the 3rd, Kap extracts his own revenge against the TE group by totally ignoring Celek (top slot) once again as he streaks down the seam facing a 5-foot something DB. Celek is what, like 6’3?? He instead chooses to throw a decent pass to Torrey Smith covered by a DB to the wide side of the field. It does not work out, as Smith tumbles to the ground like a rag doll and is still currently in the concussion protocol.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at the controversial OT play on 4th and 1. Honestly, leaving the game up to the defense (see Weeks 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 11) is in no way the best plan of action. As sad as it may seem, our offense gives us the best chance to win. Yes, even Kap gives us our best chance to win, sorry to Team Gabby, and Team Ponder, I don’t even know why that’s a thing. I digress, I’m not mad at Chip for putting our stud in position to keep the drive going. Here’s where the play failed. Trent Brown (RT) gets the olé from his defender. As he stumbles to the ground in defeat, he proceeds to block both TEs on the right side of the field (told you they were a tight group). This allows the Jets defense to pinch at the point of attack and keep Hyde bottled in.
It’s almost ironic, that Hyde runs wild all game, averaging close to 9 yards carry, but when we need one, single, solitary yard, we can’t get it. Did I mention execution at all? Go Niners!